This morning, as I gazed out at the ocean from the dock at a friend’s place where I’d parked my van for the Fourth of July holiday, I thought about how the pleasant serenity contrasted with the sound and fury with which we celebrate our independence.

Don’t get me wrong – I love a good public fireworks display, and it’s great that many were back on after the pandemic silenced them last year – but I’m not sure it’s a good idea for every household on the block to set off their own bricks of pyrotechnics in asynchronous airbursts late into the night. They keep people up at night (our neighbors down the cove subjected us to their snap-crackle-pop long after dark), they frighten pets, and they can harm wildlife.

We don’t have laws preventing people from eating donuts, and some people indulge in an excessive amount. Likewise, some people indulge in an excessive amount of fireworks. The difference is, when you eat too many donuts, you’re only hurting yourself. But when you’re popping off bottle rockets after midnight, it definitely impacts the world around you.

So I’m inclined to think laws limiting fireworks to public displays, where we celebrate our nation’s birth as a community, are a good thing. Silence is golden…

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